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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 13th

Senate Finance Plans USMCA Hearing, Trump Sides with Farmers

Senator Chuck Grassley this week announced a planned hearing regarding the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Grassley, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, says the committee will hear testimony from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The committee will hold the hearing, “The President’s 2019 Trade Policy Agenda and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” next Tuesday morning. Grassley told reporters earlier this week, following meetings with House of Representatives leadership, that he expects demands from Democrats in the House can be worked out. The House must consider the agreement before the Senate can vote on ratification. Meanwhile, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is meeting with Lighthizer this week, focusing on ratifying USMCA. President Trump also sided with a group of more than 950 agribusinesses and organizations, calling on lawmakers to quickly pass the agreement once formally submitted to Congress. Trump, on Twitter, says “our patriot farmers and rural America have spoken,” saying “now Congress must do its job” by passing the USMCA agreement.

Growth Energy Intervenes in E15 Court Challenge

Growth Energy Wednesday filed a motion in a U.S. federal appeals court to intervene in a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule allowing year-round E15 sales. The final rule is being challenged by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers who filed the lawsuit on Monday. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor called the challenge “no surprise,” noting the industry saw similar challenges when E15 was first approved in 2011. Skor says the oil industry “wants to inject uncertainty into the marketplace.”AFMP contends, “the plain language of the Clean Air Act does not authorize an RVP waiver expansion beyond E10.” Year-round E15 sales were authorized through a Reid vapor pressure waiver. Under the Clean Air Act, legal challenges to EPA’s E15 rulemaking may be brought as a “petition for review” within 60 days of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. Interested parties such as Growth Energy may also file a motion to intervene in the petition for review to protect their interests.

AFBF: Farmers Need New Water Rule

The American Farm Bureau Federation says farmers need a new water rule. Testifying to lawmakers Wednesday, Wyoming Farm Bureau President Todd Fornstrom, told a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee that “Farm Bureau cannot overstate the importance of a rule that draws clear lines of jurisdiction that farmers and ranchers can understand.” AFBF says the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest proposal to define which waters can be regulated by the federal government and which by state and local authorities is a vast improvement. AFBF contends that expensive professional services needed to comply with current rules of the Clean Water Act, makes it impossible for farmers to use their own land to its fullest. Fornstrom praised the latest proposed rule for its preservation of the Clean Water Act’s partnership among federal, state and local regulators. AFBF says the new proposed rule draws clear lines between waters of the U.S. and waters of the state. A Texas court recently struck down the 2015 rule.

Farm Groups Applaud Trump Biotech Order

Farm groups agree with President Trump, who issued an executive order for the federal government to streamline the ag biotech approval process. Trump announced the order during his visit to Iowa Tuesday, that seeks a science-based, timely, efficient, and transparent process. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says the executive order will “foster policy to spur agricultural innovation” in agricultural biotechnology. The National Corn Growers Association also applauded the order, saying a streamlined process will “open the pipeline for product approval to a larger sphere and allow farmers more rapid access to the tools that they need in the field.” Meanwhile, the National Pork Producers Council says the executive order “paves the way for common sense regulation to keep America first in agriculture.” The executive order directs the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to collaborate on “common sense regulations” along with developing awareness and education programs to gain acceptance of new technologies.

NPPC: China Represents Greatest Sales Opportunity for U.S. Pork

The National Pork Producers Council says China represents the single largest market opportunity for U.S. pork. However, trade disputes are hampering growth and “have caused severe financial harm” to U.S. pork producers. Speaking this week at a Global Business Dialogue event in Washington, D.C., NPPC’s Nick Giordano stated pork producers “have been at the tip of the trade retaliation spear for more than a year.” While Mexico’s 20 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork was recently lifted, producers still face a stifling 62 percent tariff into China. NPPC says there are enormous trade opportunities with China, especially to help offset China’s reduced production due to African swine fever. Instead, Chinese pork buyers are reaching out to those in Europe, Canada and Brazil for supplies. Giordano says that what should have been a time of prosperity for U.S. pork, instead will “fuel jobs, profits and rural development” for U.S. pork competitors. NPPC is calling for the China pork tariffs to be lifted, to allow U.S. pork to be competitive in China.

Beyond Meat Claims New Product Contains Marbling

Beyond Meat claims its newest version of the Beyond Burger includes marbling. In a company news release, the maker of the plant-based burger claims the new product features “marbling designed to melt and tenderize like traditional ground beef.” The so-called marbling is made from a blend of pea, mung bean and rice proteins. The product is shipping to grocery stores this week. The company called the new product the next step toward “building meat directly from plants that delivers a consumer experience indistinguishable from its animal protein equivalent.” However, while the company is marketing new products, meat industry publication Meatingplace points out that shares of the company earlier this week fell 25 percent after JPMorgan analysts downgraded the company stock rating. Analysts cited the likely emergence of competitors, including big food companies like Tyson Foods and Nestle. Beyond Meat was founded in 2009 and went public last month. Shares have risen by more than 500 percent since the company went public.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.

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